Japanese Right-Hander Gaining Interest
The Boston Red Sox made it a point this past offseason to stockpile their pitching, and in particular, their bullpen. With a plethora of arms in the starting rotation and bullpen, should Theo Epstein and the Red Sox pull the trigger on a trade that would send Takashi Saito out of Boston?
According to Chad Finn of the Boston Globe, Saito has gained interest from several teams throughout the league. With Brad Penny on the trading block already, would it make sense for the Sox to trade a reliable reliever as well?
Only if it makes the team better.
Rumors have it that Saito has been linked to the Rangers in a deal that would send the Japanese right-hander to Texas for first basemen Hank Blalock. With the 39-year-old relegated to backup closing duty and occasional setup man, the Sox don’t really need Saito. What the Red Sox may need is a bat off the bench or a corner infielder who can take some pressure off of the middle of the lineup.
Blalock, a 28-year-old, has spent his entire career at Texas battling injuries and inconsistency. However, the switch-hitter can play both third and first base and possess a high slugging percentage. Blalock is a career .273 hitter with 140 HRs. If the Sox felt the need to add an extra bat, he would fit the profile especially if David Ortiz cannot snap out of his season-long slump.
Saito won’t be in Boston long as the right-hander is near retirement. So a trade that would swap Saito with Blalock may not be only be of good interest for the Sox in the present, it may also help them down the road (like if Mike Lowell left after 2010 or Lars Anderson didn’t pan out).
Boston may have a stockpile of pitching and the Sox obviously have some needs offensively and defensively. So, maybe instead of trading away a streaking Brad Penny, Boston should look to a less important piece and part ways with Saito for the betterment of the present Red Sox and the future Red Sox.